Monday, December 21, 2009

Best Albums of 2009, Part 1: Rules and Runners Up

Some years in music seem better than others. Last year certainly had some great albums, but it still seemed unsatisfying. This year, on the other hand, was outstanding. From bigger and more established bands to undiscovered kids recording in their basements, this was a year to raise expectations of what a good album can be.

This year was also an important year for me personally. Thanks in part to the influence of "Jasper" and in part to a few bands I heard near the end of 2008 (namely Wavves, Titus Andronicus and Beluga), my tastes and interests shifted towards more confrontational music - in other words, "punk," at least in the broadest sense. In making this list, I've tried to balance my old priorities with my newer ones.

However, this list is a "Best of" list, not a favorites list. And what "best" means to me, at least when it comes to music, is "most exciting." Albums that push boundaries or explore new territory are the most exciting, but some albums are just exciting for being damn good, or for appearing in the right place at the right time or for reminding the world what music has the potential to be. Exciting can be challenging or it can be beautiful or it can be fun - and the most exciting music is all three.

As a side note, I didn't really follow rap this year, so its representation in this list is pitiful. Sadly I can't keep up with everything at once, but I'm sorry that rap specifically has lately fallen through the cracks. Next year, I will do better, I promise!

And now for the honorable mentions! These didn't quite make the cut, but are well worth checking out:

    The Brakes - Touchdown (Fat Cat) [MySpace]

    Eat Skull - Wild and Inside (Siltbreeze) [MySpace]

    Ex-Wife - Everything Was Beautiful (self-released) [MySpace]

    Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away (Thrill Jockey) [MySpace]

    Japandroids - Post-Nothing (Polyvinyl) [MySpace]

    Jeff the Brotherhood - Heavy Days (Infinity Cat) [MySpace]

    Mos Def - The Ecstatic (Downtown) [MySpace]

    Wild Beasts - Two Dancers (Domino) [MySpace]

Next>> Part 2: #25-21
Part 3: #20-16
Part 4: #15-11
Part 5: #10-6
Part 6: #5-1

No comments: